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Etymology 1Edit

From Old French alterer (French altérer), from Medieval Latin alterare (to make other), from Latin alter (the other), from al- (seen in alius (other), alienus (of another), etc.; see alias, alien, etc.) + compar. suffix -ter.


alter (third-person singular simple present alters, present participle altering, simple past and past participle altered)

  1. (transitive) To change the form or structure of.
    • Bible, Psalms 89:34
      My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.
    • Shakespeare
      No power in Venice can alter a decree.
    • Alexander Pope
      It gilds all objects, but it alters none.
  2. (intransitive) To become different.
  3. (transitive) To tailor clothes to make them fit.
  4. (transitive) To castrate, neuter or spay (a dog or other animal).
  5. (transitive) To affect mentally, as by psychotropic drugs or illness.
Alternative formsEdit
Derived termsEdit
Related termsEdit

Further readingEdit

Etymology 2Edit

Probably from alter ego.


alter (plural alters)

  1. (especially in the plural) One of the identities or personalities of a person with multiple personality disorder / dissociative identity disorder.
    • 2012, Robert J. Kohlenberg, ‎Mavis Tsai, Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (→ISBN):
      Often this process is highly aversive and evokes avoidance; that is, it can be very anxiety provoking to the host to be told that she is a multiple much less than to be told the details of an alter's experience. [...] She stated that she was now integrated, but that every day she meditated and visualized each of her alters[.]



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From Old Norse altari, from Old Saxon altari, from Latin altare (altar), cognates with Icelandic altari.


alter n (singular definite altret or alteret, plural indefinite altre)

  1. altar






  1. inflection of alt:
    1. strong/mixed nominative masculine singular
    2. strong genitive/dative feminine singular
    3. strong genitive plural



From Proto-Indo-European *h₂élteros (the other of two) (akin to English other). Akin to alius. Confer with ulter.



alter (feminine altera, neuter alterum); first/second-declension adjective (nominative masculine singular in -er, pronominal)

  1. the other, the second
  2. the one...the other (alter...alter)


First/second-declension adjective (nominative masculine singular in -er, pronominal).

Number Singular Plural
Case / Gender Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative alter altera alterum alterī alterae altera
Genitive alterīus alterōrum alterārum alterōrum
Dative alterī alterīs
Accusative alterum alteram alterum alterōs alterās altera
Ablative alterō alterā alterō alterīs
Vocative alter altera alterum alterī alterae altera

Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


  • Aragonese: atro
  • Aromanian: altu
  • Asturian: otru
  • Catalan altre, altri
  • Dalmatian: jultro
  • Franco-Provençal: ôtro
  • French: autre, autrui
  • Friulian: altri
  • Galician: outro


  • alter in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • alter in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • alter in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire Illustré Latin-Français, Hachette
  • Carl Meissner; Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • one or two days: unus et alter dies
    • one, two, several days had passed, intervened: dies unus, alter, plures intercesserant

Norwegian BokmålEdit

Norwegian Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia no

Etymology 1Edit


alter n (definite singular alteret / altret, indefinite plural alter / altere / altre, definite plural altera / altra / altrene)

  1. an altar

Etymology 2Edit


alter m

  1. indefinite plural of alt

Norwegian NynorskEdit

Norwegian Nynorsk Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia nn

Alternative formsEdit


alter n (definite singular alteret, indefinite plural alter, definite plural altera)

  1. an altar